low-cost-low-risk-social-media|Photo Courtesy ofDepositphotos.comhttp://depositphotos.com/8699839/stock-photo-Social-Media.html?sqc=8While most business owners have embraced social media and mobile tools, 34 percent have avoided it altogether, according to an article on the Fox Small Business Center website. Many of these businesses cite a lack of customer demand. Sure, they could wait to adopt these new platforms until they experience a loss of business and attribute it to a lack of social media, but why wait until it hurts your company to get started?

Many small business owners cite lack of time and technical know-how as barriers to participating in social media and mobile tools, the article explains. When it comes to these new technologies, companies often “are still getting their sea legs,” says Joel Hughes, a vice president at email marketing firm Constant Contact.

Here are three tips for overcoming perceived barriers and getting started with social media.

  1. Start by picking one platform to try: Choosing one platform can be less intimidating than jumping right in with multiple platforms. Facebook and Twitter are popular and easy to use. It takes little time to set up a page and begin finding your way around on these platforms.
  2. Reach out to people you know who can help: Friends, family and other more knowledgeable small business owners in your area can help you get past the initial learning curve.
  3. Keep the risks minimal: True, it can take time to get acclimated to using social media, but there’s relatively little risk or cost involved. Before you think about paying a PR firm to manage your social media, set up a free Facebook or Twitter account and take a shot at managing it yourself.

Some companies will choose to wait on social media until their customers demand it, but by then it may already be too late. Instead, proactive small business owners can test the waters by following these low-cost, low-risk steps.

We’d love to hear about your experiences. What advice would you give a small business owner who is just getting started with social media? Share your comments below!

Source: Fox Small Business Center, May 2013

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